Please allow me to vent. We participated in three farmers markets last year and in one we dealt with a market owner that was a complete moron, oh wait that was just a thought.
We had a market owner last year that just didn't get it. They demanded cash from vendors, refused to give receipts for IRS purposes and arbitrarily changed rules in the middle of the market season to suit their own agenda and cash flow needs. They even got a grant from the County to promote this market but that wasn't enough.
Okay, so I'm Polly-Anna but when you try to grow vegetables and fruits for a living to have to deal with someone like this just takes the wind out of your sails. At first we thought they were new and this was the first year having a market. They do have a good location and we have been waiting for a market to open in this area.
When we called they said farmers are free. Great we thought. Then August rolled around and they came up to us demanding ten dollars cash. I said they told us farmers were free. The answer was "no, that was just for July". When my wife talked to them on the phone it was "farmers are free", not farmers are free for July. They saw how good things were going and wanted to get in on the action.
Ten dollars wasn't a big deal as much as the demand for cash and the refusal to give receipts. Add to that the B.S. excuses they gave us for not giving receipts or being unable to take checks. I swear if my wife wasn't there I probably would have created a scene that wouldn't have been pleasant for anyone.
Besides, I'm always amazed at how my wife, who is a demure, diminutive woman but can slice a person to pieces and make it look clean. When it comes to dealing with the kind of miscreant that we did she is a shark. I won't go into details but I had to chuckle at the verbal and no-verbal ques coming from them. The owner was stepping back away from her and basically blabbing any answer that came to mind. She was just asking legitimate questions, questions that would have taken me a week to get to. But she's small and looks like she'd be push over which is a mistake if you try and the owner did try. It usually takes the person by surprise when my wife goes on the offensive and the next thing they know flop sweat is foarming on their brow and they are wondering how to get away. I almost felt sorry for them, okay I didn't, I really enjoyed watching them earn the ten dollars.
This year is the winner. We've been going to farmers markets for over seven seasons. Never have we had so much trouble combined like we've had in this market. It’s gotten so bad that a group of us have setup another market down the road just to avoid this market. The kicker to all of it this year was they wanted to charge a large application fee. Then it was by invitation only and rent was raised a 100 percent.
Okay, so I am Polly-Anna. We're in it for the health not the wealth. So the peasants rose up against the wealthy land owner and we started our own market. All the money collected, for rent, goes into a central account to be used for advertising and other expenses in the market. The market is producers only market and people that are using sustainable practises.
The market opened this past weekend and although it was the first day of a new market there seems to be promise. There was a lot of buzz; the opening was covered in the local paper and signs were posted in the community. Besides selling local foods, flowers, baked goods and hand made crafts, we will have a pet adoption agency and be donating leftovers to area food pantries. It’s a group of vendors that are stewards of the land and somewhat community activists. Farmer’s and artisans’ setting up a market for the community with the community involved. This feels good, it just feels right.
Buy Local- From a farmer you know and trust. Their effort is well worth yours.